Wednesday, May 01, 2024


Title: The Wedding Party

Author: LR Jones

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 327

My GoodReads Rating: ⭐

Life is perfect for Carrie, now engaged to Oliver Phoenix, CEO of a billion-dollar firm. With her brilliant career as a nurse in the ER, a role she enjoys and is good at, things couldn’t be better. She’s looking forward to their joint bachelor/bachelorette party at the famous Stanley Hotel, the prelude to their wedding celebrations, and her happily-ever-after.

Andrea ‘Andi’ Castle is an FBI agent, who’s been suspended from work for two weeks because of another colleague who beat up a suspect in her case. Her childhood friend, Lana Melody, who is a nurse and a friend of Carrie, talks Andi into going as her Plus One to Carrie’s bachelor/bachelorette party. Now Andi looks forward to having a good time, away from the pressures of her job. Until a key member of the bridal entourage turns up dead.


The book is written in the first person PoV of Carrie and Andi. The narrative is preceded by the first-person account of Elsa Ward, who receives a mysterious package. Later, we read the first-person account of Joe, Elsa’s neighbour, who finds her body. Between these four first-person PoVs, they add up to too many first-person accounts, almost all of them unnecessary. The story would have read much better in the third person.

The chapters are short enough, but at 88 chapters, there are way too many, especially considering the surfeit of unnecessary information, most of it dumped on us unceremoniously. 

Characters tell each other things they know already. For example, Oliver tells Carrie about her parents’ achievements. Also, each time a character is introduced, we are given too much information about that character.

Consequently, the murder, which is central to the plot, comes at the 27 percent mark.


None of the characters were likeable. Andi was completely unlike any FBI agent I’ve read in fiction. I found her too full of herself and too awestruck with the legacy of her father, even as she pretended it didn’t matter to her. Her constant reference to her job, a point hammered by nearly every one of the other characters, made me want to scream. 

After all that build-up, she turned out to be quite stupid. She let a character into an active crime scene, mere minutes after the body was found. She should have been suspended for this.

Andi’s father calling her Sugar Bear and Daughter made me cringe. It was just as cheesy to say that he would answer her call on the first ring, even if he was in the middle of sex or a fight.

Carrie was just as much of a pain, projecting herself as perfect. The part where she described her own physical features was annoying. In fact, none of the physical descriptions of the characters were necessary.



The first-person accounts of Carrie and Andi are too similar, with both often using the exact same words to describe a character. Both women refer to Cade Winston, Oliver’s friend and groomsman, as having a ‘God complex’. In another instance, two unrelated minor characters, completely different and unrelated, use the phrase, panties in a wad.

The book needed better editing. The dialogues were stilted and unnatural. The jokes that characters cracked were sad. The banter between Andi and her dad was cheesy.

When Andi asks Natalie, Oliver’s sister, if Oliver owned a gun, she says, “Yes. And so do I. For protection.” A page later, Andi asks Natalie if she owns a knife, and Natalie replies, “What? No. No knife, and before you ask, no gun.”

Here’s one more example of this lack of attention. In Andi’s PoV, she tells us that Danielle, Carrie’s lawyer, is wearing a pink blouse. Then Carrie refers to it as blood red. In the next chapter, Andi calls it red too.


The author is a woman, and yet supposedly strong female characters routinely diss their own sex. Andi actually says, she doesn’t fight like a girl. Elsa, an attractive older woman, is mocked as being a bimbo.

We are told that Elsa’s death was a murder, not suicide, but we aren’t told how she died.


There are many loose ends too. We are not told where the knife that was used in the killing was hidden. Similarly, no explanation of why there was no blood on Carrie’s inner thighs.


Why did the author need to write such a long chapter about Elsa and the neighbour who found her body when it was totally irrelevant to Carrie’s story?

Introducing a character in the last few pages was a pathetic move. Also, the resolution of the investigation was shoddily wrapped up, with no justification for the conclusion. I was annoyed at the number of unanswered questions and loose ends.

There were several proofing errors which hampered the reading experience further. Dr Norton, the evaluating psychologist, a woman, is referred to as ‘his’ once. Even though, Oliver and Carrie are not yet married, they are frequently referred to as husband and wife.

In the Prologue, we meet Elsa Ward and then later on in the novel, we meet Larry Ward, unrelated. Why repeat names?

This book was disappointing on so many counts.

(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 


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